Buffon: Italy excel under pressure

The Juventus veteran thinks the Azzurri have the quality to surprise at next year's World Cup if they maintain the right belief
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon feels pressure brings out the best in Italy as they continue preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

The Azzurri battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Germany in Milan on Friday to prolong their impressive unbeaten run against Joachim Low's side.

While he was keen to appear cautious over their chances at next summer's finals, Buffon insists Cesare Prandelli's men can achieve anything if they maintain their level of belief.

"There are certainly those who are at a more advanced stage than we are, but we are still in good shape," the Juventus custodian told reporters.

"Unlike others, we have the quality of knowing when and how to suffer under pressure. When there is a complicated situation, we tend to do very well indeed.

"However, it's not easy to say what the real Italy are like now. Prandelli is right when he says we mustn't ask for the moon, that we are not the strongest team in the world.

"We've got to go into the World Cup expecting the same as we did before Euro 2012 and the Confederations Cup. That means good performances, often hand-in-hand with good results."

Italy finished second at the European championship last summer, before coming in third in this year's World Cup dress rehearsal held in Brazil after their semi-final defeat to Spain on penalties.

They will face Nigeria in London on Monday in their next friendly, with the Super Eagles having secured their place in Brazil with Saturday's 4-1 aggregate win over Ethiopia.